With that scary tomato business nearly behind us, it's time to embrace the opening of the heirloom season. Chef-owner Marla Adams changes her menu seasonally but makes little tweaks at least once every few weeks. The heirloom tomato tartlette at Babette's is built around gems from early crops: Cherokee Purple, Brandywine and Pineapple cultivars from Barham's Farms in North Carolina — Georgia's local batch will be in bloom in about another week. Inspired by the chef's first forays into cooking, the tartlette begins with a fresh thyme pie dough that is filled with braised leeks, asiago cheese, tomatoes and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. If you can't dine in the homey and warmly restored 1916 building, the tarts can be made to go by calling at least 24 hours in advance.
$7. 573 N. Highland Ave. 404-523-9121, www.babettescafe.com.
Fresh and local is always the way at Woodfire Grill, and a special three-course all-American dinner on July 4 will feature an heirloom tomato salad with early fruits from Newborn, Ga.-based Crystal Organics. They're tossed into an arugula salad with homemade corn bread croutons and a buttermilk dressing chef de cuisine Kevin Gillespie calls "our ode to ranch." The rest of the meal includes slow spit-roasted Gum Creek Farm Berkshire hog, dressed in Gillespie's Terminus City spicy barbecue sauce and served with Anson Mills grits and butter bean succotash. Local blueberry and peach crisp with vanilla ice cream is served for dessert, and each meal includes a draft of Hummer, SweetWater Brewery's Belgian white ale. Donations for the beer are requested and will be matched by Woodfire for the Save the Hooch campaign.
$29. 1782 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta. 404-347 9055, www.woodfiregrill.com.
When the heirloom season ended last year, owner Nancy Goodrich took her heirloom tomato salad off the menu. That didn't stop a loyal customer, Elliott Galloway, founder of the Galloway School, from ordering it on most of his frequent visits to the cafe. So Goodrich gave in and put it back on the menu recently, renaming it Mr. G's Tomato Basil Salad. It's got a Caprese flair with slices of heirloom tomatoes topped with fresh mozzarella cheese and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a balsamic reduction and accented by fresh basil.
$7. 4920 Roswell Road, Suite 55. 404-705-8444, www.nancygscafe.com.
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